XBOSoft offers a unique blend of agile software testing expertise for companies that are either currently in waterfall and converting their development methodologies to Agile, as well as those with various hybrid and popular Agile methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban. Our depth of hands-on experience in a variety of industries gives us the ability to tailor and optimize Agile to each client’s specific needs based on their organizational context.
Using Agile Methodology in Testing
Static, cumbersome software is no longer an option for competitive companies; it’s critical to develop processes that quickly iterate new code and release new features while simultaneously ensuring high quality. As a result, many companies have turned to Agile development methodology, which focuses on fast iterations and constant evaluation to produce flexible, robust and stable software. But understanding the value of Agile doesn’t guarantee easy adoption by the development team — adapting traditional QA processes to an Agile environment is not something you learn from a book, but a skill and culture developed through experience.
Teams converting to agile have challenges not only in adapting processes and thinking differently, but also behaving differently. XBOSoft offers a unique blend of agile software testing expertise in development methodologies from waterfall to hybrid to Agile. Our depth of hands-on experience in a variety of industries gives us the ability to tailor and optimize an agile methodology in testing to each client’s specific needs.
What Is Agile Testing?
In traditional software development project life cycles, test plans play a very important role. In the initial phase of the project, the testing team sits together and puts together a test strategy while discussing the testing scope based on the requirements specification to ensure that all critical features mentioned in the specification will be tested. They then discuss who tests what and the timing of each test phase alongside development. The output of this process is the test plan with associated test cases and acceptance tests.
In terms of quality assurance and testing, what changes when migrating from a traditional development workflow to Agile? Rather than a detailed plan that explains step by step what to do and who should do it, Agile sets forth a direction with a compass and ways to work with the compass (users and product owners) so you get to where you need to go. In Agile, some waterfall activities are reduced while some get larger, expand, change, and/or move to a new order in the QA process. Most important, you need to be agile about being Agile. Adapt to bumps in the road and the context of your project and organization.
Best Practices For Continuous Testing in Agile
Critical to this process is the Agile testing life cycle. To ensure you’re producing the highest-quality software possible, testing cannot be confined to a standard approach at the end of the development cycle. Instead, it must be an ongoing effort that adapts to each unique Agile project.
At XBOSoft, we employ our own set of Agile testing best practices. These were developed over years of engagements and experience, and built around four key areas:
- People: High-quality software starts with high-quality people working in an environment that supports their growth and adaptation to Agile. The “development team” in an Agile context has many engineers doing whatever tasks they are capable of doing, when and where needed, versus fixed roles.
- Process: Agile means being agile. Every organization needs to implement their own version of Agile depending on their software, structure and culture. The term, Agile Software Testing, needs careful thought in defining its breadth and depth throughout the process. In the beginning, it means well-thought out acceptance tests and user stories. While later, it means executing the software to see that the acceptance tests are passed.
- Product: A working product delivered in short iterations enables feedback and quick adaptation. This is the ultimate key to success.
- User: Users are king. Deliver and then listen to what they say. Focus on acceptance tests from the user point of view.
XBOSoft’s Agile Testing Methodology and Approach
We understand the QA challenges that can arise when implementing testing in an Agile environment: Communication on larger-scale Agile projects with globally distributed teams; incorporating risk planning and avoidance; accounting for management loss of controlling time and budget; maintaining flexibility versus planning; and not getting side-tracked by speed of delivery over quality software. Using a collaborative network-based approach, XBOSoft defines clear, shared goals and objectives across all teams both internally and client-side for improved velocity, quality software, and customer user satisfaction — resulting in stakeholder buy-in for metrics that matter. Fully transparent updates and reports are shared with a strong focus on immediate feedback, analysis and action. Our metrics provide:
- Information used to target improvements — minimizing mistakes and rework
- Purposeful evaluation for actionable takeaways — helping our clients utilize resources effectively
- Insights for process optimization — predicting possible problems; enabling clients to fix defects immediately rather than later reducing overall costs
Agile Testing Metrics – Go For Quality Before Velocity
For an Agile development methodology and agile testing process, many proponents for “working software” say there is no need for metrics. They may even say tracking defects early is a waste of effort. But just because you are “Agile” doesn’t mean there isn’t a need to track or measure effort. When velocity takes precedence over quality, how is a quality end product guaranteed?
If you’re an organization using an Agile development process, your focus is generally on two key Agile objectives: quality software (free from defects) and velocity (speed). To effectively achieve those goals requires measurement and accountability. Metrics that help you figure out how to go faster or figure out where you are slow can support your Agile objectives. However, our experience shows that simply going for speed doesn’t result in quality. Going for quality usually results in greater speed. When implementing software quality metrics, you need to first understand the purpose of the metric and who will be using it. Will the metric be used for measuring people or assessing the process? Will it illustrate the level of quality in software products, or drive toward a specific objective? QA managers typically want to deliver productivity metrics, while management may want to see metrics that support customer or user satisfaction or cost related (ROI) initiatives.
By using metrics in Agile testing, we can predict what we’re going to get. Insights into what to measure and how to connect metrics to achieve real Agile goals are presented in this White Paper where you’ll learn about:
- Key ingredients for long term successful improvement with metrics
- The critical parts of the process to measure in Agile and why
- How to connect metrics with Agile goals
- How to interpret metrics with an Agile looking glass